LOREX: Participant Biographies
|Dr. Adina Paytan
Research Professor, Institute of Marine Sciences
University of California, Santa Cruz
|Dr. Adrienne J. Sponberg
ASLO Director of Communications and Science
|Dr. Michael Pace
|Dr. Linda Duguay
LOREX and Science Communication interns
Eilea Knotts - Spring 2020 LOREX and ASLO Science Communication Intern
Eilea is a marine phytoplankton ecologist who completed her Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina. She studied carbon acquisition strategies as a mechanism for microalgal community structuring processes. Eilea also enhanced her studies by participating as a member of the first Limnology and Oceanography Research Exchange (LOREX) cohort.
During her graduate studies, Eilea gained experience in communication across multiple platforms. She was the social media coordinator for the Southeastern Estuarine Research Society, the Biological Sciences Department at the University of SC, and her department’s graduate association. These opportunities provided insight into what was necessary to engage the public as well as the hitches commonly experienced. During the internship, Eilea plans to gain insights into the management of science organizations by assisting with the LOREX program as well as develop pathways that engage the scientific community to utilize communication tools. She also hopes to provide higher awareness on scientific issues and incentive to participate in the discussion. You can contact her at Knotts@aslo.org
Former LOREX Interns
Umeå University, Sweden
Climate Impacts Research Centre
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Amanda is a third-year PhD student in the Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her previous research has examined questions around invasive species, climate change, ecotoxicology, and currently she is using environmental DNA (eDNA) as a tool for conservation. Currently, her PhD research focuses on basic methodological questions around in situ detection of eDNA, like the influence of stream flow on detection probability. In addition, she is using eDNA to detect and map the distribution of an imperiled salamander, which will hopefully be useful for directing future conservation actions. For Amanda’s LOREX project, she will be working with Dr. Jonatan Klaminder at Umeå University, to combine paleo-ecotoxicology techniques with novel DNA technology (ancient DNA (aDNA) and eDNA) to assess the effects of multiple stressors (e.g. temperature, mercury (Hg) concentrations) over time in a Swedish lake. By integrating aDNA and eDNA with paleo-ecotoxicology techniques, the work will provide a novel assessment of the effects of environmental change and contaminants on aquatic communities through time. She is very excited to work with Dr. Klaminder’s lab to learn new techniques, to exchange knowledge on Hg and eDNA methodology, and to learn as much as she can from other brilliant scientists. In addition, she looks forward to making new connections with other aquatic scientists, to learn how to build lasting international collaborations, and most importantly to have fun conducting her research!
Colorado State University
Jemma is a second year PhD student at Colorado State University in Dr. Ed Hall’s lab. This summer she will be traveling to Sweden to work with Dr. David Seekell at Umeå University. One aspect of limnology she is particularly interested in is the relationship between climate change and stratification and how that relationship plays out in communities dependent on local lakes. To examine the concept of stratification as a key component of lakes as natural resources, she and Dr. Seekell have proposed a synthesis of between-region and between-lake factors of two study locations, one tropical and one arctic. Though exceptionally different systems, Lake Yojoa, Honduras and the Abisko region of Sweden are both impacted by climate change in terms of warming surface waters and changes in stratification. By critically analyzing these two dissimilar systems they aim to develop a framework for asking questions aimed at the broader social and economic impacts. It is the goal of this research to not only quantitatively examine the relationship between physical-chemical structure of the water column and diminishing fisheries but also to explore the direct and indirect effects of stratification regimes on local communities. Some of the impacts they will explore through this research include job provisioning in rural communities, the equity of reparations to the Sami people under changing fisheries conditions and the reassessment of protected habitat. Jemma is excited for the upcoming challenges and opportunities of international collaboration in an unfamiliar ecosystem. She hopes to, through learning about issues related to climate change in the Artic, come away from this experience with the ability to more critically view her work in the tropics.
University of New Hampshire
Tamara is a graduate student in the Natural Resources and Earth System Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of New Hampshire. Her research interests include using bioinformatic techniques to understand the impact of warming on microbial mediation of carbon emissions from Arctic lakes. Additionally, she studies how indigenous communities access weather and climate data to better understand how to make results from climate research more accessible and applicable to individuals and communities. Using a combination of survey data and storytelling, Tamara works with Sami communities and indigenous Australians to record environmental change observed by the traditional owners of the land. Through this work, she hopes to promote the collaborative development of conservation policy by both scientists and indigenous communities. Previously, Tamara has worked with non-profits and local governments in the Indian Himalaya to translate the results of her research into local environmental policy. Tamara has been a Fulbright-Nehru fellow, a NASA New Hampshire Space Grant fellow, and a National Center for Atmospheric Research fellow and completed her B.S. in biochemistry and English from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
University of California, Davis
Christine's early work on Coast Range Newts (Taricha torosa) engendered an interest and appreciation for life-history theory and local adaptations to environmental heterogeneity. Over time, and notably through projects at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL), she became increasingly focused on high alpine freshwater ecosystems and their potential as models for testing deeper ecological questions. For her MS, Christine investigated the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of aquatic insects in lentic and lotic ecosystems in the northern Sierra Nevada in California, USA. Ultimately, Christine endeavored to advance fisheries conservation and management issues in California’s Sierra Nevada, but also other mountain lake rich portions of the globe.
Christine is currently exploring the abundance, distribution, and food web ecology of California alpine lake ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada. While a global-scale analysis has not been part of her work to date, Christine has growing interests in understanding landscape limnology patterns occurring across scales. During her LOREX exchange, Christine will work closely with David Seekell and Cristian Gudasz from Umeå University in Sweden to evaluate spatial variance in global lake counts. The analysis will also yield valuable information for use in developing similar smaller-scale analyses for California. Finally, Christine aims to make the data products, code, and provenance from her LOREX work completely open such that future researchers may benefit from efforts developed as part of this exchange.
Christine’s other interests include scientific communication, biological illustration, and she is passionate about promoting diversity, inclusivity, and equity in STEM. Her career goal is to advance the fields of limnology, freshwater ecology, and the physical sciences through multifaceted team science collaboration. Locally, Christine aims to understand the understudied California Sierra Nevada lakes and streams and support freshwater ecosystem diversity.
University of Alabama
Phoenix is a central Wisconsin native, where his love for fishing turned into a passion for better understanding aquatic ecosystems. This motivated Phoenix to attain a B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL). During his time at UWL Phoenix was involved in numerous projects focused on stream systems. He investigated ecosystem-level effects of methylmercury in at-risk rivers, determined the susceptibility of local streams to future climate change using air-water temperature relationships, and measured the temporal variability of whole-stream ecosystem metabolism in a nearby stream. Phoenix is now a PhD student in the Biological Sciences department at the University of Alabama working with Dr. Jon Benstead to research the impacts of warming on forested stream macro invertebrate communities and ecosystem processes they provide. Their research group is artificially warming a forested stream by ~4°C and Pheonix’s role is determining how that impacts invertebrate secondary production, community assemblage, and material flow within the stream. Aquatic macro invertebrates play a crucial role in stream ecosystems, yet little work has investigated their response to future climate change. With the LOREX program, Pheonix will be working with Dr. Ryan Sponseller at Umeå University in Sweden and expanding his dissertation to include macro invertebrate communities in arctic streams. He and his group will be using the vegetation gradient within the Miellajokka catchment of northern Sweden to model the impacts of future climate change. The natural gradient in temperature, light, and productivity represents the expected future climate induced changes. This will be used to characterize patterns in macro invertebrate composition and growth rate of key taxa amongst streams in this catchment, modeling how future climate change will impact these vulnerable arctic ecosystems. Phoenix is eager to start on this project and excited to meet/collaborate with international colleagues!
Dalhousie University, Canada
The Department of Oceanography
University of Massachusetts Boston
Kelly is a PhD student in the Marine Science and Technology program at the University of Massachusetts – Boston. Her thesis focuses on using ocean color remote sensing sensors for water quality monitoring. For her proposed research project, Kelly will be working with Dr. Paul Hill at Dalhousie University to quantify river discharge from remote sensing platforms. Fluctuating river discharges are associated with climate change and other anthropogenic effects. Systematic measurements of river discharge are necessary for monitoring and managing river systems but gathering such in situ data at fine spatio-temporal scales can be logistically challenging and costly. Publicly available ocean color remote sensing imagery from high spatial resolution satellites can be used to monitor river systems. Thus, the goal of the proposed project is to evaluate remotely sensed proxies for river discharge using the Landsat 8 and Sentinel 2 satellites. The project objectives include: 1) compiling in situ and satellite datasets over the Connecticut River Estuary, 2) comparing Landsat 8 and Sentinel 2 reflectance in the red wavelengths with river discharge, and 3) comparing Landsat 8 and Sentinel 2 river widths to river discharge. The results from this work will help determine the applicability of remotely sensed proxies for river discharge estimation, and it will lay the groundwork for applying these proxies to other river systems.
Catherine (Catrina) Nowakowski
University of Rhode Island
Catrina is a PhD student using stable isotopes as tracers to study how our warming climate changes marine ecosystems through bottom up processes. She is a third-year student studying Biological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography with Dr. Kelton McMahon and will be working with Dr. Owen Sherwood next summer at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Her thesis aims to provide historical context changes in food web regimes, biogeochemical cycling, and export production in the Gulf of Maine as a function of climate using cutting-edge compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) methods.
During her LOREX project at Dalhousie University, Catrina will apply CSIA methods to recently collected deep-sea corals (2017-2020) from the Gulf of Maine to reconstruct long term (fifty year), high resolution (annual) records of changes in export production dynamics since the 1970s. This will entail generating a timeseries of δ15N-based CSIA metrics representing source nitrogen, trophic transfer, and microbial reworking of sinking organic matter recorded in the proteinaceous skeletons of Primnoa resedaeformis corals within the context of the broader Gulf of Maine trophic biology and nitrogen cycling. While in the program, her goals are to expand on analytical skills in dating coral growth rings and analyzing samples for amino acid-specific N isotopes; as well as to develop new collaborations with colleagues interested in paleoceanography. Her research explores the dynamics of large-scale ocean systems that are not constrained by international boarders, and she is excited to work with the ASLO LOREX program to build the necessary bridges across international borders to tackle these global-scale questions.
University of Maine
Rachel obtained her BS in Freshwater and Marine Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and her MS in Biology from the University of West Florida. Rachel’s master’s thesis examined the role of nitrogen fixation in subtropical seagrass bed sediments. She is currently working on her PhD in Oceanography at the University of Maine. Her dissertation is focused on understanding how the organic carbon to nitrate ratio, the primary controlling factor on competition between nitrate reduction processes (denitrification, anaerobic ammonium oxidation—anammox—, and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium—DNRA), affects the dominance of nitrate reduction process in the anaerobic layer of marine sediment. She conducts experiments that have sediment thin discs placed into a flow-through reactor, which acts as a chemostat, to address this problem. Rachel’s dissertation also looks at the microbial assemblages in the anaerobic, nitrate-reducing sediment layer. Additionally, she is studying nitrogen cycling dynamics in Maine’s coastal sediments in areas that experience anthropogenic impacts and unimpacted areas.
During the LOREX program, Rachel will be using data from her thin disc experiments, which aim to determine whether there are distinct tipping points along a range of organic carbon to nitrate ratios at which dominance between the three nitrate reducing processes switches as suggested by a modeling study by Algar and Vallino (2014). At Dalhousie University, she will be working with Dr. Chris Algar to develop and build inverse models to interpret these results. The model will be fit to the measured inorganic nitrogen species using denitrification and DNRA rates as parameters. This modeling exercise will allow her to determine if the energy yield and thermodynamic favorability of a reaction is or is not more important than biology and organism specific properties in determining the partitioning between nitrate reduction processes. In addition to accomplishing these research-specific goals, Rachel hopes to expand her professional network outside of the United States and establish relationships with other researchers, who she could potentially collaborate with in the future.
Interuniversity Group in Limnology (GRIL)
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Portland State University
Lara is a PhD student at Portland State University in her second year, studying the abiotic factors, such as phosphorus levels, and biotic factors, such as non-native fish, influencing cyanobacteria blooms in high-elevation lakes. She has over seven years of research experience in aquatic systems from studying pH regulation mechanisms in leopard sharks to nutrient cycling in subtropical wetlands. Lara completed her BS in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution at University of California, San Diego and Masters in Natural Resources at Humboldt State University. Over time in her research work, Lara has become increasingly fascinated by how the environment shapes community structure and function, ultimately influencing ecosystem processes like primary productivity. Through the LOREX program, she will work with Dr. Jesse Shapiro’s lab on high throughput sequencing to identify cyanobacteria at the strain level, which is crucial as toxin-production and bloom formation varies within a genus, in mountain lakes across elevational (as a proxy for temperature) and phosphorus gradients. Based upon previous studies, she expects bloom-forming and toxic strains to be more prevalent at the relatively higher temperatures and phosphorus concentrations. This collaborative project fits within a larger international study led by Dr. Shapiro, DNA sequencing cyanobacteria from many North American lakes. Lara seeks to understand how to effectively carry out a genomics project from planning to sequencing data processing. In addition, she hopes to network with the larger limnology community at GRIL -University of Montreal and learn about other unique research like the Large Experimental Array of Ponds. Ultimately, Lara is excited to lead a collaborative study, building relationships to explore new avenues of study with a combined knowledge base.
Carrie Ann Sharitt
Carrie Ann is a second-year graduate student at Miami University (Ohio). Growing up, she spent lots of time outdoors exploring local beaches and swamps as well as camping with her family. In undergrad, Carrie Ann majored in Biology and Secondary Education which allowed her to pursue ecology interests and also share her passions with others. Afterwards, she spent four years teaching middle and high school science in Atlanta, GA. In her free time, Carrie Ann enjoys working puzzles, reading, and a variety of crafts including photography and coloring. She also loves traveling and is currently planning a solo trip to Tanzania to visit Gombe National Park.
In terms of research, Carrie Ann is broadly interested in the role consumers play in nutrient cycling as they release nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus largely through excretion and egestion. Factors such temperature and population biomass are known to impact the overall amount of nutrients released from aquatic consumers. However, little is known about how parasites impact nutrient excretion from aquatic consumers; yet, parasites will increase in abundance and intensity under many climate change models. Through the LOREX program, Carrie Ann aims to better understand the synergistic influence of climate warming and parasite burden on animal excretion. Working with GRIL researchers at Station de Biologie des Laurentides, pumpkinseed fish will be exposed to temperatures increases as well as various trematode infection burdens. After allowing the fish to acclimate for several weeks, nutrient excretion will be measured across treatments. A subsample of fish will also be used to understand how warming temperatures and parasites alter stoichiometry of fish body tissues. It is anticipated that nutrient excretion will increase with elevated parasite burden and higher temperatures.
Southern Cross University, Australia
University of Southern Mississippi
Amy is a third year PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi studying the impacts of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) on the Mississippi Sound. SGD is the combined flow of freshwater from aquifers and the circulation of seawater through sediments that occurs along the coastline and across the continental shelf. It is an important, yet often overlooked, part of global nutrient, trace metal, and carbon inputs to the ocean. SGD can greatly affect the water quality of coastal environments, especially in areas that are already vulnerable to eutrophication (excess nutrients) and hypoxia (low oxygen). Intermittently Closed and Open Lakes or Lagoons (ICOLLs), also known as coastal lagoons or estuaries in some regions, are common ecosystems along the world’s shorelines and often experience hypoxia. Previous work done along the coast of Australia has indicated that groundwater may be up to 90% of water input to ICOLLs. Amy will build on this work by assessing whether SGD drives widespread hypoxia in ICOLLs. Radon, radium, nutrients, nutrient/water isotopes, and physical parameters within four ICOLLs will be determined to understand the effects of SGD on the water quality. These are highly sensitive estuarine environments, and understanding the fluxes that affect water quality will be useful in protecting and maintaining them. This study will highlight the importance of SGD in the coastal ocean and elucidate the link between SGD and hypoxia. This program will also help foster an international professional and academic network outside of the United States, which is vital to solving global water crises and pollution issues. Groundwater discharge and potential contamination needs more attention, especially considering the majority of freshwater utilized in the world by humanity is groundwater. Amy is looking forward to expanding her knowledge of the groundwater system outside local regions as an important part of her career path.
Stephanie J. Wilson
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Stephanie is currently a Ph.D. student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She is interested in marine biogeochemistry and specifically nutrient cycling in coastal ecosystems. Nitrogen is an important limiting nutrient for primary production in marine ecosystems. Her current research focuses on the sources, fates, and cycling of nitrogen in a subterranean estuary (STE) in Virginia, USA. STEs form at the coastline where groundwater is advected and mixes with overlying seawater. STEs may act as either sources or sinks of nitrogen to overlying seawater. Stephanie’s LOREX project will focus on the question: are subterranean estuaries a source or sink of nitrogen to the coastal ocean? To address this question, data compiled from STE’s around the world will be used to complete a meta-analysis of nitrogen in STEs. The STEs will be grouped by features such as sediment type and location before examining nitrogen concentrations along salinity gradients to determine source or sink behavior. The outcomes of this project have important implications regarding the cycling of groundwater nitrogen as it is discharged through STEs to the global ocean. Stephanie will be collaborating with Dr. Isaac Santos at Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbor to complete this work. As a part of the LOREX program, she looks forward to learning more about international collaboration, creating new connections with other program participants as well as colleagues at the host institution, and developing new research skills and techniques.
Southern Cross University, Australia
Southern Cross University at Lismore
Alia N. Al-Haj
Alia is a 3rd year Ph.D. student at Boston University studying coastal biogeochemistry in Dr. Robinson “Wally” Fulweiler’s lab. Her dissertation focuses on methane cycling in seagrass meadows. Methane has a global warming potential 34x that of carbon dioxide on a 100-year time scale. Seagrasses play an important role in the marine carbon cycle, with a hectare burying 10x more carbon than terrestrial forests. However, there is little information on carbon lost from seagrasses via methane emissions. This information is critical when assessing the net benefit of seagrass ecosystems as a greenhouse gas sink. The few studies that have quantified diffusive methane fluxes from seagrasses report that these ecosystems are methane sources. While there are a small number of studies on diffusive air-sea emissions of methane from seagrasses, to date there is little understanding of methane transport pathways in seagrass ecosystems. Alia will be working with Dr. Damien Maher at Southern Cross University on quantifying methane transport pathways in seagrass meadows. Her goals for her time in the LOREX program include (1) determining the dominant physical pathway for methane transport to the atmosphere in seagrass meadows, (2) determining the dominant mechanism for methanogenesis and methanotrophy in seagrass dominated sediments using isotopic analyses, and (3) developing a methane budget for a subtropical basin. Their results will help determine a more accurate carbon storage capacity of seagrass meadows.
Kalina C. Grabb
MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Kalina has always had a strong passion for the ocean and she feels lucky to be able to combine her background in earth science and environmental engineering with her interests in oceanography. She has been able to explore this passion as a 3rd year Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MIT/WHOI) Joint Program, in the department of chemical oceanography. Her Ph.D. focuses on reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are short-lived oxygen-containing molecules that play essential roles in the health and biogeochemistry of the ocean. Traditionally ROS production is attributed to stress within organisms, however, evidence is mounting that extracellular ROS is beneficial for organisms, including corals. Most of Kalina’s thesis is focused on the ROS dynamics associated with corals in order to better understand coral health. In order to characterize the production and decay mechanisms of ROS associated with coral, it is essential to investigate the reactions of ROS with other substances (i.e. metals and minerals) present within the environment. The LOREX program presents an opportunity for Kalina to collaborate with Dr. Andrew Rose at Southern Cross University in order to complete the first systematic study that directly explores the reaction between one specific ROS, superoxide, and Fe(III)-bearing minerals. The goal of this project is to identify other potential sources and sinks of ROS. Through this, we can better understand how superoxide alters the redox environment and interacts with the iron redox cycle within Fe(III)-bearing minerals. This study will characterize the impact of ROS on redox conditions within the environment and places Kalina’s Ph.D. thesis research in larger context by providing an insight to the links between ROS and other biogeochemical cycles. Overall, this opportunity will provide Kalina with the opportunity to establish an international collaboration between two of the leading labs in ROS and minerology.
Josué G. Millán
Indiana State University
Josué is a Ph.D. student from Puerto Rico at Indiana State University pursuing a degree in Spatial and Earth Sciences. His research focus is in Earth evolution, the intersection of geology and biology and the complex interactions between life and the environment. He is specifically interested in understanding the sequestration of atmospheric CO2 and the oceanic geochemical cycling of carbon. Phytoplankton forms the bases of the marine food web and plays an essential role in the oceans Carbon pump. The nature of primary productivity and phytoplankton dynamics is crucial for the management of our natural resources as well to understand what role they will play in modern climate variability. The results of his LOREX project intent to be used to validate existing biogeochemical models and provide better parameters for new ones to understand atmospheric-oceanic systems.
Since the beginning of his academic life, Josué’s goal was to become part of the nationally constant influx of Latinos in STEM that contributes and promotes a tidal wave of knowledge and positive change to our society. The current role of a scientist in society is changing and expanding. Josué has realized that his generation has the responsibility to reestablish the leading role the scientific community had in guiding our nation. Through his journey, Josué has learned that he is passionate about interdisciplinary research that brings together different scientific disciplines. The understanding of life on our planet and beyond is something that he finds amazing and stunning, with a central emphasis on the interconnections of biogeochemistry, molecular biology, and environmental processes. Hence, his research aspirations are defined by time: past, present, and future. For that reason, Josué’s research interest includes understanding the origins of life and speciation, examining the response of ecosystems to current environmental change, and the feasibility of life beyond our planet. Recently, Josué has integrated scientific advocacy to his aspirations due to the importance it brings to do science with courage and determination.
Inter University Institute for Marine Science in Eilat, Israel
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ben is currently a PhD student in the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where his thesis focuses on disturbances in aquatic food webs including the invasion of Spiny Water Flea to inland Wisconsin lakes and the decline in Great Lakes Cisco community. Much of Ben’s research incorporates geometric morphometric techniques to understand ecomorphology in fishes as well as stable isotope analysis to understand food web relationships. Ben is especially interested in applied ecological questions with an eco-evolutionary twist. Through ASLO LOREX, Ben will be studying the body morphology of Rabbitfish in both their native range of the Red Sea and their invaded range of the Mediterranean Sea. Further, using the extensive fish preserved fish collection at the Tel Aviv Zoological Museum, Ben will quantify Rabbitfish morphology changes throughout their ~60 years of invasion. Ben notes that while ecological invasions are damaging, he enjoys studying them as they are a unique opportunity to study evolution at a reasonable timescale. Ben is excited for the opportunity to apply similar techniques and ecological theory as his thesis to a vastly different ecosystem than he has previously worked in. Additionally, he looks forward to experiencing international collaboration and the student cohort community in the LOREX program.
MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Mallory is a PhD candidate in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Chemical Engineering, where she works on methods to study the marine carbon cycle in coastal oceans. Her thesis focuses on the development of an autonomous dissolved inorganic carbon sensor which will be deployed in an experiment to study inorganic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) precipitation in the Red Sea, as well as from a remotely operated vehicle at sea to study carbonate chemistry across deep coral reefs on the West Florida shelf. Mallory holds a Masters in Earth Sciences focused on development of the carbonate clumped isotope paleothermometer in desert soils, and a Bachelors in Physics and Chemical Engineering from Syracuse University. When she is not in the lab, she can be found roaming around Cape Cod, running, biking, and gardening as much as possible.
A fundamental pathway in the marine carbon cycle is the biological precipitation of calcium carbonate as shells and skeletons. Inorganic CaCO3 precipitation is generally assumed to be insignificant in marine carbon cycling, but laboratory experiments and observations in certain settings, like in the Little Bahama Banks, have shown that inorganic CaCO3 precipitation may occur on suspended sediments, which can enter coastal waters through floods, rivers, dust, and resuspension events. The goal of this project is to evaluate the significance of this type of CaCO3 precipitation in the Red Sea at Eilat, Israel, where warm water temperatures, high CaCO3 supersaturation, and large particle loads from the surrounding desert may trigger inorganic CaCO3 precipitation. At IUI, she will work on a coastal mesocosm experiment from which bottle samples and in-situ chemical sensors measurements (including pH, pCO2, and a newly developed dissolved inorganic carbon sensor from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) will allow us to track high resolution carbonate precipitation during simulated flood and airborne dust deposition events.
University of Haifa, Israel
The Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, Haifa
Texas A&M University at Galveston
Jessica started working in a phytoplankton physiology lab after she received her Bachelor’s degree in 2015. Most of the research she has been involved in up until this point has focused on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 and the effects it had on the microbial community. She has recently decided to go back to school for her master’s degree in Marine Biology. Although her background is in oil spill research, she decided to change direction a little bit for her Master’s project. Her thesis project, done through the LOREX program at the University of Haifa in Israel, will be investigating the physiological responses of coastal phytoplankton species when exposed to the brine effluent released from desalination plants. In addition, she is interested to see if changes in water quality caused by a these plants affect coastal phytoplankton communities in such a way that would negatively affect the plant itself. Desalination plants help to supplement freshwater where traditional resources can no longer sustain a population or a region. It is expected that the amount of desalination plants will increase globally as population continues to grow. As desalination plants become necessary in new locations around the world, the observations from this experiment could help predict potential changes to the affected coastal phytoplankton communities. Her goals for the LOREX program are to gain a better understanding of phytoplankton communities affected by desalination plants, and to contribute to a relatively sparse body of knowledge that is bound to become increasingly relevant as the world’s population continues to grow, and water shortages become a more common problem.
University of Maryland
Hunter is Master’s student at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. His thesis revolves around how coral skeletal geochemistry is used to reconstruct past ocean conditions. Sometimes referred to as ‘The Tree Rings of the Ocean’, corals produce seasonal growth bands in their skeletons. If paleo-oceanographers measure particular geochemical proxies in those growth bands, such as skeletal strontium-to-calcium ratios (Sr/Ca), they can reconstruct past ocean temperatures and better inform models that seek to predict future changes in climate. Specifically, Hunter looks at variability in seawater Sr/Ca ratios to see how small changes in local seawater chemistry can make large impacts on coral Sr/Ca-based temperature reconstructions. Through the ASLO LOREX program, Hunter will be working with Dr. Tali Mass in Haifa, Israel. There he will measure seawater Sr/Ca ratios in the Red Sea to better inform coral paleoclimate studies about the potential mechanisms and drivers for seawater Sr/Ca variability.
Prior to his master’s program, Hunter took what is commonly called a ‘non-traditional’ path to the sciences. After receiving a B.A. from Emerson College in English and Journalism, Hunter went on to work in the sales industry for two years. In the Spring of 2014, he returned to school to complete a variety of math and science courses with the goal of being admitted into a master’s program for paleoclimatology. He spent a year working as a research technician on a remote marine field station before gaining acceptance into the Marnie-Estuarine Environmental Program through the University of Maryland. He has presented this research at multiple conferences and looks forward to continuing his studies of paleoclimatology by obtaining a doctorate in Oceanography. Outside of his research, Hunter is passionate about outreach, science communication, and creative outlets for both individual and shared expression.
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
Alanna is a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, where she studies the interdisciplinary connection between biogeochemistry and fisheries. Before beginning her PhD studies, Alanna graduated from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in 2017 with majors in biology and marine science and minors in chemistry and psychology. Her undergraduate thesis research focused on identification and distribution patterns of larval cephalopods of the Eastern Caribbean during an anomalous freshwater plume year. After completing her degree, Alanna went on to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration where she participated in research projects studying the early life history of Atlantic bluefin tuna. For her thesis work, Alanna hopes to use her background in bluefin as well as her interest in biogeochemistry to build a project utilizing signatures in seawater that can be applied to better understand life history strategies and food web dynamics. Her LOREX project will serve to achieve that goal. Alanna will be working as part of a larger study with goals to measure taxa-specific variability and the various phytoplankton C:N:P ratios in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea with regards to natural and manipulated difference in N:P supply ratio, and to determine which phytoplankton taxa of that area are the dominant drivers of local carbon export. She will be primarily focused on the manipulations of the study in the form of mesocosm experiments. This specific aspect of the project will show stoichiometric ratios of nitrogen and phosphorous in Eastern Mediterranean phytoplankton as they are subjected to varying environmental conditions.
Amanda is from New Jersey and obtained a BA in chemistry. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Biochemistry and Microbiology Department at Rutgers in the lab of Dr. Debashish Bhattacharya. For her thesis, Amanda is taking a multi-omics (metabolomic, metagenomic, metatranscriptomic, proteomic) approach in understanding coral health to aid conservation. The main goal of her work will be to identify metabolic activity linked to various forms of stress, in addition to adaptation responses, throughout the holobiont. In order to achieve this, she is currently working on identifying novel coral metabolites and their perspective gene clusters in Montipora capitata. This is the work Amanda will be continuing at the University of Haifa with Dr. Tali Mass. During her LOREX project, Amanda will be growing various coral species in the Red Sea and Mediterranean under multiple stressors (high radiation, high acidity, and elevated temperatures) to determine the metabolic response of the holobiont to future coral ecosystem conditions. Unfortunately, 25% of coral reefs are already considered damaged beyond repair because of human ignorance. It will take more than one field to correct the effect humans have had on the coral holobiont. Therefore, Amanda is also taking part in a fellowship at Rutgers designed to help communicate science by educating fellows to combine scientific knowledge with the economic, engineering, political, and outreach expertise to reverse climate change. Amanda hopes that the LOREX program can assist her in learning how to communicate and educate others on scientific or conservation issues.
Umeå University, Sweden
Louisiana State University
Hannah Beck is a second-year PhD student in the Oceanography and Coastal Sciences program at Louisiana State University. Her research focuses on hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where she is investigating the role of sediment biogeochemistry and dissolved inorganic carbon flux in this highly seasonal environment.
Hannah travelled to Abisko, Sweden where she worked closely with Dr. Jenny Ask of Umeå University. There, she investigated the same research question—what is the role of sediment DIC flux in this highly seasonal environment?—under completely opposite conditions. While the Gulf is subtropical, marine, and highly impacted by humans, the small lakes around Abisko are subarctic, fresh, and minimally impacted. She adapted the sediment core incubation technique from her doctoral research to accommodate the lower temperatures and higher productivity of Abisko’s lakes in order to compare and contrast the two locations, especially within the context of a changing global climate.
Hannah is extremely thankful for all aspects of the LOREX program including the meaningful international relationships she built. She is more passionate about science communication, travel, and the value of collaboration. Hannah looks forward to applying every lesson she learned to the rest of her career as an aquatic scientist.
Sarah H Burnet
University of Idaho
Sarah Burnet is pursuing her PhD in Fish and Wildlife Sciences at the University of Idaho, where she also completed a MS in the spring of 2016, both advised by Dr. Frank Wilhelm. Her PhD research is focused on internal loading of phosphorus to reservoirs. Specifically, she is interested in understanding the relationships between sediment type, particle size, and metalimnetic entrainment as sources of phosphorus linked to occurrences of algae blooms. This builds on her MS research which focused on measuring the seasonal internal phosphorus loads as part of a mass balance for Willow Creek Reservoir in Oregon. Working with Dr. Jan Karlsson from Umeå University, Sarah collected sediment cores from seven lakes around Abisko, Sweden to determine if phosphorus release and organic matter varied between lakes. In addition to her dissertation work, Sarah currently serves as the Co-chair of the Ethics Committee for the North American Lake Management Society and previously served as the Student Director and Chair of Student Programs. Sarah’s previous work experience includes sampling and analysis on all five Great Lakes with Cornell University as well as collecting data and samples following the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil spill.
Sierra E Cagle
Texas A&M University
Sierra is a plankton ecologist who recently completed her Ph.D. at Texas A&M University and started as a postdoctoral research associate in the Marine Biology Department of Texas A&M University Galveston. She is broadly interested in investigating ecological theory and mechanisms that shape lower aquatic food webs using empirical, experimental, and numerical approaches. Her dissertation research focused on how the interaction between environmental conditions, such as N:P stoichiometry, and mixotrophic life history characteristics of harmful algae species may influence their population dynamics. Through ASLO’s LOREX program she was able to expand these research interests in new directions via international collaboration with Dr. Sebastian Diehl at Sweden’s Umea University. The objective of this ongoing partnership is to explore how Northern lake brownification may impact the planktonic food web and the role different mixotrophic life history strategies may play in the resulting community structure using a mechanistic numerical model. In her current position Sierra will primarily work to refine the biological component of a pre-existing biophysical model. This model will ultimately be used as a resource management tool to better predict how algal biomass and dissolved oxygen will respond to altered freshwater inflows and nutrient loading in Texas bay systems.
Nicholas A. Castillo
Florida International University
Nick Castillo is a fish ecologist and ecotoxicologist currently completing his PhD at Florida International University. His dissertation research project examines the potential impacts of contaminants and pharmaceuticals on the bonefish decline in South Florida. By comparing bonefish sampled throughout South Florida with bonefish from other Caribbean basins including the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Belize the research aims to identify the present levels of contaminants and assess the relative risk in South Florida compared to bonefish elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Nick completed his LOREX sponsored research at Umeå University with Dr. Jerker Fick. Nick completed three distinct behavioral ecotoxicological experiments. The first experiment used guppies selected for either large or small brain sizes and observed any changes in their reproductive behavior in response to exposure with EE2, a synthetic hormone commonly used in contraceptives. He also examined reproductive behavior with an emphasis on time spent with males or females by exposed guppies or unexposed guppies. The third experiment focused on the effects of exposure to the Benzodiazepine Temazepam on foraging and anti-predator behaviors in dragonfly nymphs. Participation in the ASLO LOREX program far exceeded expectations and provided Nick with numerous experiences that would have otherwise been unavailable.
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Holly is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin – Madison Center for Limnology in Jake Vander Zanden’s lab. Holly’s research focuses on understanding the conditions necessary to support self-sustaining inland recreational fisheries in the face of global environmental change.
In summer 2019, Holly traveled to Umeä University, Sweden to collaborate with Dr. Pär Byström and Dr. David Seekell to quantify the effects of factors associated with light availability on fish biomass production. Holly sampled 16 lakes in northern boreal Sweden, which had been historically visited, conducting gill net and limnological sampling. These samples are now being processed and the information will be used to quantify spatial and temporal changes in fish productivity relative to abiotic drivers over the past 20 years. Additionally, Holly hopes to use comparable information for Wisconsin fish populations to explore these relationships across varying landscapes.
Holly is very grateful for the opportunity to gain international collaboration experience through the ASLO LOREX program as it has taught her countless lessons regarding how to be a better researcher and collaborator. Although the field component of her LOREX program has been completed, she is enthusiastic to continue the collaboration process in the next steps of her project.
University of New Hampshire
Allison is a first year PhD student at the University of New Hampshire in Dr. Bill McDowell's lab. She recently finished her Masters with Dr. McDowell which focused on developing an understanding of controls on stream greenhouse gas concentrations across a land use gradient. Allison is broadly interested in biogeochemical cycling in freshwater ecosystems and studying how climate and land use changes will impact biogeochemical cycles and overall ecosystem function.
During her LOREX exchange, Allison worked in Abisko, Sweden with Dr. Ryan Sponseller from Umeå University as well as Drs. Anna Lupon and Eugènia Martí from the Center of Advanced Studies of Blanes (Spain). They assessed the influence of varying carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) availability on stream nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas (GHG) dynamics in two streams draining catchments with tundra and birch forest near Abisko, Sweden that had contrasting light, thermal, and background nutrient regimes. From these additions, they will determine nutrient uptake metrics and use those along with ancillary measures to assess the response of GHG production to manipulated C and N availability. These experiments provide insight into how varying stoichiometry of organic C and dissolved inorganic N influences GHG production from N cycling pathways and other metabolic processes, such as heterotrophic respiration or methanogenesis
University of Cincinnati
Chelsea is pursuing her PhD in Biology at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH. For Chelsea’s LOREX project, she worked with Ryan Sponseller (Umeå University) and examined diel nutrient patterns in streams across different arctic landscapes and evaluated patterns of nutrient limitation in benthic biofilms. Chelsea worked at the Climate Impacts Research Station in Abisko, Sweden for the duration of her LOREX project.
Her dissertation research is focusing on urban stream ecology and her current project is focusing on the impact that long culverts (or pipes) have on various aspects of the stream ecosystem including benthic algae, macroinvertebrates, and oxygen dynamics. Before pursuing her PhD, Chelsea received her B.S. from Ohio State University in 2012 and then worked as a Research Assistant at the Aquatic Ecology Lab at Ohio State University where she worked on projects related to fisheries research on inland lakes and reservoirs.
Arizona State University
Marina is interested in understanding how hydrologic variability and disturbance regimes affect the structure and function of primary producer communities in arid streams and wetlands. Using a combination of field observations from Sycamore Creek and the Salt River wetlands, greenhouse experiments, and statistical modelling, she hopes to better understand how variability within and between years affects long-term biotic community structure and ecosystem function. Marina received her master’s in Ecology at Florida State University, where she studied interactions between algal crusts, plant communities, and storm disturbance regimes on barrier islands coastal dunes in the Florida panhandle.
Carly Rae Olson
University of Notre Dame
Carly is a fourth year PhD candidate at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN advised by Dr. Stuart Jones. Broadly, she is interested in the relationship between lake catchment characteristics and lake ecosystem structure and function, and how this relationship may further our understanding of the contribution of lake ecosystems to biogeochemical cycles. Specifically, her current research focuses on land use and hydrologic residence time as controls on nutrient input and processing, and how these two catchment properties interact to dictate coupled cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. She is also part of an ongoing whole-lake manipulation investigating the response of lake food web productivity to increased terrestrial dissolved organic matter. Her LOREX-enabled collaboration with Dr. Cristian Gudasz explored the mechanisms involved in lake carbon burial in both temperate and arctic ecosystems. They developed a dynamic process model to understand the role of catchment land use and lake morphometry in mediating carbon burial rates. This will help further our process level understanding of the mechanisms responsible for lake carbon burial and can be used to inform predictions about how the sequestration of carbon by lake ecosystems may change in the future.
San Francisco State University
Stephanie participated in the LOREX program during the summer of 2019, during which she conducted research at the Climate Impacts Research Center, associated with Umeå University, in Abisko, Sweden. Stephanie completed her master of science in biology with a concentration in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology through San Francisco State University prior to participating in the LOREX program. Her master’s research investigated copepod growth grates as a measure of productivity and its relation to aquatic food webs in the San Francisco Estuary. Her LOREX research built upon the methods she developed for her master’s research. Stephanie collaborated with Danny Lau and Jan Karlsson to investigate growth rates of the calanoid copepod Eudiaptomus graciloides in permafrost thaw ponds in Stordalen Mire, Sweden in relation to nutrients and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to better understand how increased DOC will affect lower food web productivity. During her summer in northern Sweden Stephanie conducted 10 growth rate experiments within three different water bodies in Stordalen Mire. In concurrence with growth rate experiments Stephanie collected water samples for nutrients and DOC that were processed by Danny Lau. Copepod growth rates were measured through an image analysis technique and related to DOC. Copepod growth rates were negatively related to DOC, implying that lower food web dynamics may be negatively affected by climate change, which is increasing DOC at higher latitudes.
Breena S Riley
Tarleton State University
Breena is a second-year graduate student at Tarleton State University in Dr. Victoria Chraibi’s lab. She is currently working on a project that characterizes diatoms in a river in central Texas. It relates diatom assemblages to bottomland woody vegetation along the river.
In 2019 she collaborated with Dr. David Seekell of Umeå University to characterize freshwater diatoms in the Abisko, Sweden, region. The study was foundational in nature due to the lack of similar studies from the past around Abisko. Previous work with diatoms in the region was limited to annual sampling for environmental monitoring purposes. Field sites were selected to represent altitudinal and environmental gradients found near Abisko, located in either birch forest or tundra ecosystems. In addition to the primary characterization study, she worked with LOREX peer Chelsea Hintz to assess diatom growth as part of a nutrient diffusion study. Breena hopes that her work will help future investigators better understand freshwater biological systems in northern Sweden and possibly lay the groundwork for understanding diatoms in the context of climate change.
Dalhousie University, Canada
The Department of Oceanography
Contact person: ***
Emily is a Ph.D. student in the Earth & Environment department at Boston University. Her research centers on improving our understanding of biogeochemical cycling in the coastal ocean by studying an often overlooked component: the sandy sediments blanketing the seafloor. To do so, she is developing a sampling instrument, based on a mass spectrometer, which can measure the concentrations of major gases dissolved in the sediment porewater.
For her LOREX project, Emily travelled to Canada to work with three research groups at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is also her hometown!). There, she conducted lab experiments with her prototype instrument, and also tested it out during a one-day field deployment in Halifax Harbour. This experience enabled Emily to identify and implement improvements to the prototype, and gain ideas for future biogeochemical experiments.
Aside from her graduate studies, Emily has numerous interests. She is a writer and editor for Oceanbites, an ocean science blog. She is also an analyst for Boston University’s fledging technology transfer program. When not engaged in scholarly pursuits, Emily can be found running around Boston or at the local boxing gym
University of South Carolina
Eilea was a 5th year graduate student working toward her Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina in Dr. Pinckney’s lab. Her research focused on marine phytoplankton and estuarine ecology, specifically, the competitive advantages of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase (CA) in phytoplankton. Given the well-documented role of phytoplankton in food web dynamics and benthic microalgae in the trophodynamics of estuaries, understanding the mechanisms of carbon acquisition in these systems is important in predicting how primary productivity and nutrient cycling might change in response to increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2.
For Eilea’s LOREX project, she worked on gathering data on the elemental stoichiometry and macromolecular content for two diatoms that either had active or inhibited CA activity. These analyses would be used to parameterize a model examining impacts of a changing carbonate system on estuarine phytoplankton communities. However, complications arose with maintaining diatom growth. The project shifted to focus on simple diffusion models investigating why the Skeletonema sp. underwent mass mortality without active CA and the Cylindrotheca sp. continued to grow. Eilea learned that you must always have a contingency plan in place in the event that the experiment is no longer feasible.
Washington State University Vancouver
Jeff is a PhD student at Washington State University Vancouver studying environmental hydrodynamics. He studies mixing in stratified waters, in hopes of improving the scientific community’s understanding of the transport of heat, chemicals, nutrients, pollutants, organisms, and sediments, which he sees as an important step in addressing water quality issues in lakes, estuaries, and oceans. As part of the LOREX cohort-1, he collaborated with Drs. Dan Kelley (Dalhousie University) and Clark Richards (Bedford Institute of Oceanography) in Nova Scotia, to answer questions about the characteristics of upslope-propagating internal waves and their influence on transport and mixing. Through his LOREX experience, Jeff made substantive progress towards answering his research questions, developed new technical skills for data analysis, gained more knowledge in his area of expertise, expanded his professional network, and established an ongoing international research collaboration.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Wiley is a third-year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in marine chemistry and geochemistry working with Dr. Todd Martz at the Scripps institution of Oceanography. His bachelor’s degree is in chemical engineering. Wiley’s PhD thesis will focus on the seawater carbonate chemistry off of the Southern California coast and how it has changed over the last 30 years as well as some ongoing sensor development occurring in the Martz lab.
While at Dalhousie, Wiley worked with Dr. Doug Wallace’s group to incorporate a pH sensor developed in California into the SeaCycler. The SeaCycler an autonomous motorized mooring that allows for daily profiles of the upper ocean for a yearlong deployment. The measurements of the seawater carbonate system made by the SeaCycler will help to reduce uncertainty in global carbon budgets by better constraining the flux of CO2 sinking into the deep ocean through the formation of North Atlantic deep water.
Florida International University
Matt is a second-year Ph.D. student at Florida International University in the biological sciences department. His work focuses on developing ecosystem models to assess the status of marine resources and the impact of human-caused stressors in dynamic simulations. Matt's work in centered in the oceanic Gulf of Mexico where he is examining possible shifts in the trophic structure of the ecosystem since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He hopes to develop new methods to quantify uncertainty in ecosystem models and optimize model development towards future management decisions. Previously, Matt earned a Bachelors degree from Beloit College and a Masters degree in Marine Biology from Nova Southeastern University. At Nova Southeastern, Matt examined the gut contents and parasites of mesopelagic fishes in the Gulf of Mexico. Investigating the role of mesopelagic fishes in oceanic ecosystems remains a primary goal of Matt's work.
During the LOREX program, Matt traveled to Dalhousie University to work with Katja Fennel. He developed an ecosystem model for the oceanic Gulf of Mexico that couples with a biogeochemical model previously developed by Fennel's group. Combined these models simulate the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem from primary producers to apex predators. Beyond the productive six weeks in the lab, Matt is grateful for the LOREX program and the experience he had in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He believes that developing international collaborations is a valuable skill that will remain prominent throughout his career.
Southern Cross University, Australia
National Marine Science Centre at Coffs Harbor
Contact person: ***
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Trista is a PhD candidate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and holds undergraduate and master's degrees in Geology and Geophysics from the same institution. Their research interests broadly include using field-based and chemical approaches, in addition to using machine learning and big data approaches, to study coastal hydrology and groundwater contamination. Their current research primarily focuses on groundwater contamination through the use and development of geochemical tracer techniques and sea level rise impacts to coastal wastewater infrastructure.
During the LOREX program, Trista worked with Professor Isaac Santos at the National Marine Science Centre at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbour, Australia. Trista’s project looked at submarine groundwater discharge to Sydney Harbour as a source of wastewater. This was a field-based project that was achieved by sampling both groundwater and surface water for radium, pharmaceuticals, nutrients, and dissolved organic carbon along transects. Radium and pharmaceuticals were used as tracers for groundwater and wastewater, respectively. Trista also was awarded a graduate student research grant with outstanding mention from the Geological Society of America (GSA) to support this research.
Southern Cross University, Australia
Southern Cross University at Lismore
Contact person: ***
University of Washington
Hannah is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington School of Oceanography. She merged her love of sailing, geology, engineering, travel, and getting muddy into a career in marine geology. Specifically, she studies the sediment dynamics of coastal regions where rivers meet the ocean. This interdisciplinary field combines in-situ observations and numerical modeling of sediment transport and hydrodynamics to connect meter-scale processes to 100-kilometer-scale geomorphology and tidal processes to decadal change. Hannah is a member of the UW Sediment Dynamics Group, which focuses on the response of vulnerable coastal regions to human alteration (e.g. damming and deforestation) in diverse regions around the world.
Hannah’s recently published Masters work examined the impact of the Elwha River, WA dam removal on coastal sediment transport and ecosystem habitability. Hannah’s PhD is focused on the impact of mangrove-forest removal on coastal stability. She is working in the Ayeyarwady River Delta, Myanmar comparing sediment retention over tidal to annual timescales in a mangrove preserve and an agricultural field. Through the LOREX program she also worked in Tauranga Harbor, New Zealand with collaborators at the University of Waikato and Southern Cross University, Australia. Mangroves were removed from the harbor >10 years ago, and there is now an opportunity to examine decadal-scale changes to sediment transport and morphology. Integrating knowledge from these diverse sites will provide deeper understanding of the evolution of coastal environments following mangrove removal. Hannah enjoys working internationally and developing connections with scientists from different backgrounds to build global scientific community.
University of Massachusetts
Emmi Kurosawa is a PhD student in the Biology Department at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Emmi is particularly interested in all aspects related to the evolution, development, and biomechanics of Utricularia, a freshwater aquatic carnivorous plant. Her dissertation focuses on finding a correlation between nitrogen stable isotopes in Utricularia and wetland water quality. In the upcoming LOREX internship at the Centre for Coastal Biogeochemisty, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia, she will be working with Dr. Naomi Wells and Dr. Joanne Oakes to establish an index to predict early eutrophication using the changes in nitrogen stable isotope in Utricularia. In her earlier professional career, she worked on odorant, pheromone, and taste receptor identification and characterization in Neurobiology Department at Harvard Medical School under the guidance of the Nobel prize winner Prof. Dr. Linda Buck. She then joined Serono Inc. (later EMD Serono Inc.), a pharmaceutical company, and devoted in protein engineering of infertility drugs and multispecific antibodies to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases for over 15 years. Emmi is also the vice president of the New England Carnivorous Plant Society, based in Dracut, MA, focusing on cultivation, conservation, public education, and research on carnivorous plants.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU)
Angelique is performing her master's degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Marine and Estuaries Ecosystems. Since the population of coral reef ecosystems is declining exponentially, she is interested in the use of foraminifers as an indicator tool to better understand the actual reef status and further predict the coral well-being. The application of ecological indexes such as the FoRAM Index (FI) can address reef conditions. FI has been applied worldwide (e.g., Caribbean, Australia, and the Mediterranean) as a bioindicator device. The FI is a method used to determine the water quality of the reef's surroundings using foraminifers as indicators; FI values will reflect the actual reef conditions and will suggest further development in the ecosystem. Angelique will apply the FI in coral restoration locations; moreover, she will be evaluating foraminiferal assemblages from Heron Island, Australia. Through this project, Angelique is seeking to contribute to resources managers with a rapid and cost-effective biomonitoring tool to improve management efforts.
Texas A&M University
Rachel Weisend a fourth-year PhD candidate at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. She was a part of the inaugural LOREX Cohort who conducted research at Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia. Rachel’s research focuses on microbial interactions within the sediment of mangrove ecosystems and their effect on methane emissions.
During her research exchange in Lismore, Rachel collected sediment for geochemical and molecular microbiological analyses. At these sites, Rachel also measured methane and carbon dioxide flux. This project aims to compare mangrove systems in the southern hemisphere to previously sampled systems in the northern hemisphere along the Texas coast. Multivariate statistical analyses will be used to compare changes in geochemistry and the microbial community structure and function.
Rachel is passionate about integrating scientific research into policies on coastal systems, working with undergraduate students, and discussing scientific concepts to her local community. Rachel has enjoyed being a part of the LOREX program expanding her scientific community both within Australia and the United States.
Keiko Wilkins is finishing her Master’s of Science in Biology and a certificate in Applied Statistics at Miami University (Oxford, OH). She also completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Biological Sciences at Miami University. Her current research focuses on the effects of increasing terrestrial inputs on freshwater zooplankton. After graduating (January 2020), Keiko plans to pursue her PhD in marine biology with a focus on the effects of climate change and microplastics on marine species. Through her first marine research project at Southern Cross University, Keiko is hoping to enhance her knowledge of coral reef ecosystems.
Inter University Institute for Marine Science in Eilat, Israel
Ashley Brooke Cohen
Stony Brook University
Ashley is a 5th year PhD candidate in biogeochemistry at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, NY in Dr. Gordon Taylor’s laboratory. Ashley specializes in the geobiology, or the interaction of geochemical processes and microbes, in oxygen-free environments. Her dissertation work at the permanently oxygen-free Fayetteville Green Lake, NY, is focused on how the succession of microbial carbon fixation pathways and sulfur metabolisms along redox gradients influences stable isotope signatures. She is especially interested in how they are compartmentalized into suspended and sinking particulate matter in the water column, and ultimately, what is incorporated into sediment. She hopes this will provide insight into which early earth anoxic water column processes are reflected in the geologic record. Ashley combines microbiology techniques including Illumina sequencing, stable isotope probing, radiotracer rate measurements, qPCR, and fluorescence in situ hybridization with geochemical techniques to answer these questions.
For Ashley’s LOREX project, she worked with Dr. Gilad Antler at the Inter University Institute for Marine Science, Eilat, Israel on enrichment incubation experiments using sediment cores from 420m in the Red Sea. The goal of the experiment was to determine if elemental sulfur would be disproportionated- split into sulfide and sulfate without a terminal electron acceptor- which strongly fractionates sulfate and sulfide isotopes. Over the course of two months, a full suite of geochemical and microbiology samples was taken, including samples for sulfur and iron concentrations, sulfur isotopes, cell counts, and DNA.
University of California, Santa Barbara
Connor is a PhD student at University of California, Santa Barbara (under professor David Valentine) who studies the flow of matter through organisms in oligotrophic ecosystems using compound-specific isotope analysis. Connor first started studying hydrocarbon production by common marine cyanobacteria in the open ocean and how this may support oil degrading bacteria that can respond to oil spills. This work utilized compound-specific isotope analysis and led him to use this technique for other systems, particularly corals.
Connor studied with professor Maoz Fine at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat, Israel. He created an artificial food web in Professor Maoz Fines infamous Red Sea Simulator to constrain amino acid specific isotope ratios that may be found in nature. It is known that coral heterotrophy greatly enhances their ability to survive stressful times but measuring coral feeding and metabolism in nature, particularly for nitrogen, remains elusive. Connor conducted a several week long feeding experiment to investigate coral nitrogen and carbon sourcing and metabolism within the coral-algal symbiosis using 15N and 13C ratios of specific amino acids. These data will be used to support future field campaigns aimed to identify corals with high heterotrophic capacities that may outcompete other corals in the face of rapidly changing oceans.
University of Haifa, Israel
Elena a fourth-year PhD student in molecular cellular biology and biochemistry at Boston University, is one participant who will conduct research this coming fall at the University of Haifa’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences. Forchielli has previously visited University of Haifa for collaborative research with the Charney School’s Dr. Daniel Sher. She will be working once again with Sher as part of her LOREX experience.
Elena’s current work is focused on using metabolic network reconstructions to bridge the gap between genomics and microbial community function. To this end, Elena uses genome-scale computational models in concert with systematic laboratory experiments to predict the nutritional requirements and metabolites produced by a diverse set of heterotrophic marine bacteria, and whether these features can predict syntrophic relationships between different species. Elena hopes to use her LOREX project to move beyond the laboratory, and test the ability to resolve metabolic interactions in natural marine microbial communities using a combination of field observations and bottle incubation experiments.